In the Beneteau line, we looked at the Oceanis series 37 and 41.
The Oceanis 37 was a nice two-berth layout. As is typical on a mono-hull, the forward berth is a V-berth (think triangular shaped bed to fit into the pointy end of the boat), the salon takes the center portion of the boat including an L shaped galley and head, and another larger berth that tucks under the cockpit. One thing I didn't expect was how light it was inside the cabin. Often people describe the interior of a traditional sailboat as "entering the basement", but I found these to have a lot of light for a basement.
At Catalina we started off looking at the new 311, which is the newer edition of the 309. This seems a bit small for a long-term live-aboard, but we will be renting one soon and wanted to see one in person ahead of time. It should be suitable for a few days. Stepping up to the 387, the space improves as it should. The rear berth is a better size and other than the headroom would make a fair owners cabin.
The berth is angled, so it may not be quite as comfortable as it appears in this image. stepping up again to the 440, everything seems to improve space wise, except the berths.
We also saw a couple Hunters and an Island Packet 370. Given Hunter's reputation, we didn't really spend a lot of time looking at them. The Island Packets, having exactly the opposite reputation was more interesting. The design was rather old-school in general with smaller portholes instead of the larger windows found on most newer boats. The forward berth is quite different than the typical v-berth as it has a more respectable shaped bed instead of the typical wedge.
Our final contender were offerings from Jeanneau. We got a chance to sail the Sun Odyssey 379 as part of our Take the Wheel seminar and found it quite a nice boat to sail. Taking a little more time at their booth, we found the interior to be a pretty typical layout for this size boat: a v-berth at front, a salon seating area behind that, followed by an L shaped galley on one side and head on the other, and finally a berth aft. Then we took a look at the Sun Odyssey 41 DS. This is our pick for best in show. They raised the deck so the lower spaces have bigger windows and the most light below deck of any of the traditional sailboats we checked out.
|Don't know what they were thinking with orange in this picture.|
With the aft cockpit, the headroom is still lacking. My only real concern with this layout is the same concern I have with most of the boats we got to see at the show and that is how well you can take advantage of cooling breezes at anchor (the bow points into the wind at anchor which puts the aft berth at the lee side of the boat). But the space of the owners berth and the windows and light that rival some of the catamarans make this boat an overall winner. Of course, this boat is new for 2013, so no used boats making it unlikely we'll end up with one. Maybe we can find something similar.
So, you may be wondering if there was any progress towards a decision between catamaran and mono-hull. Sadly, not too much. Each have advantages and disadvantages and we're still having a bit of a hard time determining which items are essential and which are not. Hopefully we will gain more insight during our ASA 104/114 course.